It cost some 21 billion Ghana Cedis to terminate the existence of seven banks in 2017 and 2018.

The banks are aggrieved that they are being forced to pay a 5% levy to help defray the cost of the clean-up.

It is without a doubt that some were so distressed they needed special salvation that could be found in their death.

It is equally the case that the help some others needed was not exactly money but perhaps changes in leadership, direction and operation under a police guard of a strict regulator.

I am aware of the thinking that rejects any other prescription as a complete misunderstanding of a potentially economy-damaging crisis. The problem is more the choice of the application of the law than it is an inevitable recourse to a bitter pill for an illness that had only one cure or an either-or-binary path to healing through death.

My point is that in this rich but poor Africa, there is a real need to rethink the application of public law as one more for ‘destruction’ than for correction, and one does not need to destroy to correct.

We all think about criminal law as instrument to punish and harshly.

Criminal law’s utility including reformation is often lost on us or thought to be realized only by long custodial sentences.

Yes, we express joy that offenders of the law, will rot in jail, and our jails are indeed rotten places meant for anything but humans.

Yes, even lawyers and judges do forget that the criminal code we borrowed in 1960 actually opens with the mandatory instruction for a beneficial rather than a strict application of it.

We applauded when President John Mahama defined corruption as “mass murder”, and President John Kufuor called us to show “zero tolerance” for it. Guess what, the politicians who make the laws will never prescribe death penalty for the crime of corruption for the obvious reasons.

In the recent OSP law, they have prescribed plea bargain so that those caught in nation-wrecking corruption may simply return the stolen-money and not go to jail.

That’s how it should be for that remorseful poor mother forced by hunger to steal a bunch of plantain.

In the name of the law, local authority is quick to demolish shelter of the homeless and often without thinking any alternative for them.

The tax-payer is being saddled with 21 billion, half of which may have kept the banks and jobs and even stimulated the economy better. The same tax laws used to shut and even collapse businesses, have plenty room for application to get them remedy their wrongs and stay afloat.

An MP-Minister recently disclosed his finance company that was collapsed was found not have committed any wrong. I know one other that was found to have been wrongly collapsed. Everything seized by the State including keys to the company building was quietly returned.

The company relied on its own funds sitting in account to pay customers and kept change but those who took loans can’t see themselves paying back to a legal technically non-existing entity.

Dr. Kwabena Duffour and Kofi Amoabeng want lawmakers to step in their cases but the law may not allow that especially as their matters may be in court.

It is possible that this could have been avoided if the law was applied to carefully pluck the poisoned fruits from the trees that were uprooted when they could have been nurtured to produce fresh fruits.

There is higher good in the law’s provision for correction and more correction with administrators to the rescue rather than revocation of licenses which is a last resort and only for a beyond salvation situation. That’s your legal light.

Samson Lardy ANYENINI
March 20, 2021 Issue#10